Renowned Buddhist scholar and author Stephen Batchelor and his wife, Martine Batchelor, author, spiritual counselor and meditation teacher, will make a rare appearance this weekend, Nov. 11-13, at InsightLA, a Santa Monica-based mindfulness meditation center.
The three-day event will include a public talk, Friday evening Nov. 11, and a two-day retreat, Nov. 12-13.
The weekend will explore where Buddhism is headed in the 21st Century as many of its techniques – such as mindfulness meditation – are adopted in modern thought and psychotherapy by people who do not consider themselves “Buddhists.”
Throughout the weekend, the Batchelors will lead a discussion on the implications of this secularization of the Dharma and explore what might be gained and lost as Buddhism’s traditional identity as a belief-based religion is thrown into question.
Stephen Batchelor, who has been both praised as a reformer and condemned as a heretic in the Buddhist community, views Buddhism as an evolving culture of awakening, not a religion based on immutable dogmas and beliefs.
He regards the doctrines of karma and rebirth to be features of ancient Indian civilization and not intrinsic to what the Buddha taught. He believes Buddhism is now entering a vital new phase of its development.
The Batchelors, who live in France, were devoted monastics before they disrobed to marry in 1986. They combine vast scholarly knowledge and deep practice with humor and sophistication.
Martine’s books include The Spirit of the Buddha and Women on the Buddhist Path. Stephen is the author of the bestselling Buddhism without Beliefs, among other publications.
InsightLA is a non-profit organization founded by psychologist and meditation teacher Trudy Goodman, PH.D. and is dedicated to mindfulness training.
Additionally, InsightLA offers Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an eight-week program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and taught in medical centers around the world.
InsightLA has hosted events featuring spiritual teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, Robert Thurman and Joseph Goldstein.
For more information, and to register, visit www.insightla.org.
InsightLA is located at 1430 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica.